Suburban sweet spot Spunky Dunkers Donuts in Palatine, about 30 miles northwest of Chicago, found itself grappling with the reality of too many paczki ingredients and too few customers on Fat Tuesday, according to the Tribune. It was a scary realization, owner Jan Daczewitz told reporters — one that many restaurant operators can relate to as they’ve struggled to keep businesses viable during COVID-19. Paczki Day is often the busiest day of the year for area bakeries but bad weather and pandemic concerns kept many customers at home this year.
Employees took to Facebook on Thursday to describe their plight: “So, real talk. We need your help,” they wrote, noting the bakery’s unusually slow Paczki Day. “We are struggling a bit. Whether it’s one donut or dozens - we would greatly appreciate your business.”
Fortunately for Spunky Dunkers, this tale has a happy ending: social media users ran with the message, sharing the Facebook post more than 1,400 times and forming lines that wrapped around the store. By Sunday, the bakery had sold around 10,000 baked goods in 72 hours and run out of even basic supplies. Daczewitz told reporters that she’s overwhelmed by the community support.
The story — a beloved business’ cry for help and a community of fans who heed the call — bears a striking resemblance to a viral July tweet from iconic Chicago deli Manny’s. “We are struggling. This isn’t a joke. Support your fav deli for dinner tonight,” the tweet read, prompting an outpouring of love for the Jewish-American institution that resulted in long, socially distanced cues outside the Jefferson Street restaurant.
In other news...
— Piece Pizza reopens its dining room in Wicker Park on Monday, according to a Facebook post. The longtime favorite has recently garnered buzz due to fundraising efforts for Chicago’s indie venues shuttered by the pandemic with from Sammy Hagar (Van Halen) and country star Martina McBride. The restaurant is co-owned by Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen.
— Lakeview Roscoe Village Restaurant Week will kick off this spring with special prix fixe menus takeout and delivery from as-yet-unnamed neighborhood restaurants, according to a rep. The event, which aims to draw diners to neighborhood restaurants during slow winter and spring months, will run April 9 to 18, starting just after the annual city-wide restaurant week wraps up. It’s also a charitable effort, as organizers will donate $3 per order to Lakeview Pantry and Common Pantry.
— John Boudouvas is the new executive chef at neighborhood Italian spot Noninna in River North, according to a rep. Boudouvas, a Chicago native and Kendall College graduate, most recently worked as executive chef at modern Greek restaurant Avli River North. Other previous local employers include Francesca Restaurant Group, Lettuce Entertain You, and Mia Figlia.